Hold Kashmir dialogue without preconditions: Karat to PM

Karat has asked PM to "take a bold initiative for a political dialogue" with the people of J&K.

Last Updated: Sep 04, 2010, 21:57 PM IST

New Delhi: Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat Saturday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and asked him to "take a bold initiative for a political dialogue" without preconditions with the people of Jammu and Kashmir to find a solution to the problems of the state.

He also suggested that many of the paramilitary bunkers in Srinagar should be removed, juvenile prisoners freed and economic activity in Kashmir Valley revived.

"The prime minister should take a bold initiative for a political dialogue with all sections of the state. Dialogue should be held with all sections without preconditions," Karat said in a letter submitted to the prime minister during his meeting.

Karat, party officials said, met the prime minister alone.

Karat met Manmohan Singh after his recent visit to Srinagar where he held discussions with a wide section of the people there, the party said in a statement here.

Karat appraised the prime minister of "the serious situation prevailing in Kashmir and what needs to be done immediately", the statement said.

The CPI-M is of the opinion that only by recognizing the special status of the state and assuring the Kashmiri people of their identity that a solution can be found.

"This requires a new political framework in which the bedrock is maximum autonomy," the statement added.

Karat told the prime minister that Srinagar and other urban centres should be taken out of the Disturbed Areas Act purview which will make the enforcement of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act redundant.

There should be a reduction in the security forces deployed in the areas which have seen a drastic reduction in militancy, Karat said.

"Many of the bunkers in Srinagar localities manned by the paramilitary forces should be removed," Karat said.

"Given the fact that 66 young men and women have lost their lives due to the police firing from June 11, it is imperative that the approach of resorting to police firing to control the stone pelting crowds should be stopped forthwith.

"There has to be a distinction between dealing with stone pelting youth and tackling militants resorting to terrorist violence," Karat told the prime minister in his letter.

The CPI-M general secretary said the injured should be "adequately compensated and rehabilitation measures should be taken for those with permanent disabilities".

"Juvenile prisoners should not be kept in jail and all those youth who have no serious charges against them should be released," Karat said.

"Given the major economic losses suffered due to the continued curfews and hartals for the past two and a half months, the government has to compensate and revive trade and other economic activities of different sections of the people," he said.

IANS